It was a controversial call in the opening bout of the main card after Alvarez took Lapicus to the ground during an early exchange in the first round and began hammering away with a series of vicious punches. During the offensive barrage, Alvarez landed numerous shots around the ear and the referee paused the action to admonish the former UFC champion for what he believed were illegal strikes.
When it was clear Lapicus was unable to continue, Alvarez was issued a red card by the referee, which signifies a disqualification in ONE Championship.
While he was emotional in the cage afterwards, Alvarez was able to re-watch the fight after returning to his hotel and there was no doubt in his mind that the referee made the wrong decision.
“I went back to my room and I was able to watch the clip of the fight and see everything and it was a bad call on the referee’s side,” Alvarez said at the post-fight press conference. “The American media is in uproar right now and so are the American fans. I’m going to respectfully ask them to look back at the video and reverse that call.
“All that matters is Iuri’s safety. That’s it right now. That he’s going to be OK. When I go back, I’m in the cage, so emotions run high. The referee, people make bad decisions when emotions run high. I think it was a bad call. I’m mixed emotions right now.”
Following the event, ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong offered an update on Lapicus, who was taken to a local medical facility in Singapore for precautionary reasons.
“We just got word right now that Iuri is in stable condition,” Sityodtong said. “His CAT scan results haven’t come back in yet, but he is in stable condition. His vitals are good.”
Because ONE Championship acts as its own commission while holding fights in Singapore, the promotion will ultimately make the call on whether or not the disqualification will stand or potentially be overturned to a different result.
For his part, Alvarez believes the replay will absolve him of any wrongdoing and he hopes the loss will be erased from his record and a win will be added after Lapicus was unable to continue.
“I just want to make sure that they correct this. It’s not right. What happened, it’s not right,” Alvarez said. “After looking at the tape and after seeing the outpouring of the media that’s basically saying something went wrong in there today on the judging side, I’ve just got mixed emotions about everything.
“I don’t see how it’s not overturned. I don’t discredit anyone based on what happens inside that cage. Referee, judging, all that. It’s high emotions and you have to make decisions based on a split second and I think the replay and after everybody goes back and looks will see everything was done righteously. I won fair and square. I’m not trying to anger anyone or climb up any trees. I won tonight. I won. I just hope that they go back and look at it and reverse the decision. I’ve made decisions in my past and I’ll be a man and step up and say that it was wrong. But tonight, I won. I think the American media and a lot of media know that I did and are pissed off about it.”
While no decisions will be made immediately, Alvarez is confident in what he feels should have been a victory over a former title challenger in Lapicus.
On April 17 at the ONE on TNT 2 card, reigning lightweight champion Christian Lee defends his title against Timofey Nastyukhin, the fighter who handed Alvarez a defeat in his ONE debut.
No matter who comes out on top, Alvarez would love the opportunity to challenge the winner as he seeks to add the ONE lightweight title to his resume.
“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to make history,” Alvarez said. “I said it in the beginning when I came to ONE Championship. I’m here to make history. That’s what I’m here for. Let me make my history.
“These opponents are getting larger. Every time I come back, they’re getting larger and larger. They’re getting bigger and bigger. I don’t even belong in this weight class. I’m fighting guys double my size. Give me the champion.”